Almost all complex organizations – whether a college, university, government agency, or corporation – find budgeting processes to be complicated or even mystical. Below are some ideas for increasing accountability, transparency, and expertise in budgeting and finance.
Make the budgeting process easier for all employees and the community at large to understand
Replace contingencies in each budget, with one real contingency
Institute program-based accounting or “block budgeting”
Institute zero-based budgeting
Improve the year-to-year continuity of the budgeting process
Train deans and all budget managers in fiscal and budget management
Improve budgeting and tracking to provide control over temporary and part-time employees
Create funding incentives for departments to generate revenues and lower costs
Improve or implement cost accounting
Require cost justification for all major expenditures
Review the use and allocation of the supplies budget
Track grants and special funding sources comprehensively
Simplify the bill-paying system to ensure bills are paid on time to avoid late charges or cessation of services
Use state program-based funding formulas as benchmarks to fund departments
The shortest recorded period of time lies between the minute you put some money away for a rainy day and the unexpected arrival of rain.
-Jane Bryant Quinn
KH Consulting Group (KH) started this Know-How site in 2009 to create a forum for sharing ideas on effectively enhancing revenues and containing costs in higher education in the near and longer term.
KH has posted more than 500 ideas. You can join the forum at:
Note: The ideas shared are not prescriptive and will not work in all situations or at all institutions. Some of the ideas are tactical – quick victories to save money in easy ways. Others are strategic, requiring careful analysis before implementing.